Since half past two this afternoon, at least 14 Dutch branches of ING, including the office on Boulevard 1945 in Enschede, activists from Extinction Rebellion have gone into demonstration against the services that the bank provides to companies in the fossil fuel industry.
In Amsterdam and Nijmegen, among others, the activists would chain or glue themselves and not leave until the bank’s management comes up with concrete commitments. The protesters say they will not obstruct ING customers and employees of these branches, which have been chosen to be open Saturday afternoon.
Activists targeted 24 locations, ING confirms that protesters are actually present in 14 locations. “It is their right to protest, and as long as they do not hinder customers and staff, they can move on,” said spokesman Harold Reusken of the bank’s national headquarters.
According to the action group, ING still invests around € 8.5 billion in oil and gas each year, including in new projects. “We’ve been campaigning for some time, but ING will not listen. Customers now also need to know what their trusted bank is doing with their money, “said Anne Hofstede, one of the participants in the campaign.
Last year, ING announced that they would stop funding new fossil projects. “But it is only about direct financing of the projects themselves, and it is only 10 percent of the total amount that the bank invests in the fossil fuel industry. In the meantime, the financing of companies that undertake such projects continues as usual, «says Ernst-Jan Kuiper, today an activist in Amersfoort, but a climate researcher in everyday life. He obtained his doctorate from Utrecht University on the melting of the ice caps.
We have been campaigning for some time, but ING will not listen. Customers should now also know what their trusted bank is doing with their money
As an example, Kuiper mentions the Norwegian company Aker BP, which specializes in searching for and extracting oil and gas stocks. “ING still provides the company with million loans for what is called ‘general funds’,” he says. “But that company has only one activity, so where does that money go?”
Kuiper has already been in talks with ING several times, he says. ‘Then they say they have to study it again and figure it out. We definitely have to keep talking, but if it does not work at all, we have to take action, there is just no time left. “
Harold Reusken from ING says in a reply that last year the bank committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, which was to ensure that global warming is limited to 1.5 to 2 degrees by the end of this century. Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to “net zero” by 2050. ‘Net zero’ means that a company’s or a country’s total greenhouse gas emissions are equal to the emissions it removes from the atmosphere, for example by planting trees.
“We are working hard to adapt our loans to the oil and gas sector. In 2025, our oil and gas portfolio will be 12% smaller compared to 2019. This is a preliminary target on the road to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. Our financing of coal will be close to zero by the end of 2025. “says Reusken In doing so, we are doing justice to the global demand for energy, which is still largely fossil fueled, and to the Paris climate goals, because a transition period is needed to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and we want our customers to support this transition. “
Extinction Rebellion (XR) has already campaigned at ING seven times this year, and the lobby at the Amsterdam Zuidoost headquarters was occupied twice. Each time, it ended with a night in jail. But never before have it been so many places at once as it is today.
Extinction Rebellion sees itself as a global civic movement struggling with disruptive actions against climate change and for the preservation of a vibrant world. XR’s three requirements for authorities and companies are:
1. Be honest about what lies ahead for humanity.
2. Do what is necessary to stop the loss of biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net 0’ by 2025. (‘Net zero’ means that total greenhouse gas emissions are equal to the emissions they release from the atmosphere when planting trees, for example, deletes.)
Let the citizens decide on a fair transition by establishing a citizens’ council that plays a leading role in decision-making.
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